Former Metal Church bassist Stephen Wesley Ungerbuehler has been found guilty of growing marijuana, Washington's News Tribune reports, and while that makes him a convicted felon, he's likely breathing a sigh of relief.

Ungerbuehler -- who professionally goes under the name Steve Unger -- had also been facing a pair of more serious charges, and had the jury in Tacoma found him guilty of money laundering or leading organized crime, he might have gone to jail for as long as five years.

Instead, he was hit with one count of "unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance," a crime he more or less admitted to by testifying that helped a friend stricken by cancer grow pot for medical purposes. The rocker copped to cultivating more than 15 plants, which is the maximum licensed growers are allowed by law, but since he has no prior criminal record, he could walk away with zero to 90 days in prison.

"The big ones went away," said Ungerbuehler, smiling as he left the courthouse.

Prosecutors subsequently sought to jail the musician while he awaits sentencing, but Judge Frank Cuthbertson denied the request, allowing Ungerbuehler to add a rider to his bail and remain a free man.

Ungerbuehler was a member of Metal Church from 2004-2009 and played on the band's The Weight of the World (2004), A Light in the Dark (2006) and This Present Wasteland (2008) albums.



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